Seasonal Affective Disorder: Caring for Collections During Seasonal Special Events


Signature seasonal events are highly anticipated on many museum calendars. Winter holiday decorations, spring flower shows and gallery sleepovers delight donors, members, volunteers and the general public. Successful events evolve into cherished traditions for institutions. Due to the increased risk to objects on display, however, collections caretakers tend to dread seasonal events. Negotiating a path between collections care and event traditions can be tricky. Join us as we discuss ways to protect collections (and your sanity!) during seasonal events.

Objects conservatorGretchen-Anderson-Headshot-1asm, Gretchen Anderson, learned her craft at the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian’s Conservation Analytical Lab, the Canadian Conservation Institute, Getty Conservation Lab, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minnesota Historical Society. She established the conservation department at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) in 1989. At SMM she developed preventative conservation standards for environmental management, housekeeping, Integrated Pest Management, and worked with facilities and food service to develop workable solutions for special events. She was a key team member that designed and built a new facility for the SMM. This endeavor resulted in not only a state of the art exhibition and storage facility, but also a major publication about the experience of building a new museum and creating the preservation environments: Moving the Mountain: Guide to Moving Collections. In 2009 she accepted the position of conservator and head of the Conservation Department at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Ms. Anderson is a member of the American Institute for Conservation and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, where she just completed a 6 year stint co-chairing the Conservation Committee with Dr. R. R. Waller. She has always been dedicated to sharing her knowledge through a wide variety of means including; training interns, teaching classes and leading public programs. She has been involved with distance learning since 1999 and currently teaches through Museum Study LLC.

Rebecca Newberry Rebecca Newberry_REC_0016is the Conservator at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Filling various conservation and collection management roles since 1994, she was named conservator in 2013. She oversees a mixed natural history and anthropology collection of approximately 1.75 million objects. Rebecca worked on the collections move project from 1998-1999 and is one of the authors of the Science Museum’s Moving the Mountain: Guide to Moving Collections. Rebecca also teaches online courses for Museum Study, LLC.

Rebecca specializes in preventive conservation, with an emphasis on exhibition, storage, and shipping mounts; environmental monitoring; Integrated Pest Management; and ethnographic conservation, focusing on culturally appropriate storage and preservation.Rebecca is a member of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, where she is co-chair of the Conservation Committee.


Recorded: Thursday, December 3, 2015
Duration: 1 Hour 14 minutes

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Seasonal Events Handout


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